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Happy dog on walking path.

Dog owners need to provide secure yards

Friday 01 February

East Gippsland Shire Council’s Community Laws Unit is becoming increasingly concerned with the rise in the number of dog complaints in recent months.


Since December, council has received nine reports of dog attacks ranging in severity from serious to minor.


It has also had two dog rush reports, which is where a dog menacingly approached a person within three metres including displaying aggressive behaviour such as snarling and raising the hackles.


Community Laws Coordinator Bill Petersen said dog owners need to make sure their properties have a secure area for their dogs.


“Any dog, no matter how friendly, can become aggressive when defending its turf,” Mr Petersen said.


“We have seen an increase in the number of complaints regarding stray and nuisance dogs in recent times.


“Most dog attacks in public places happen on the footpath or road bordering the attacking dog’s property,” Mr Petersen said.


"If dogs were properly confined, around 80 per cent of dog attacks in public places would be prevented.


“We are concerned that an increasing number of dog owners are not aware of their obligations to confine their dog.”


It is the law that dog owners must confine dogs to their property, must have adequate confinement means, including escape-proof fencing, securely shut gates and provisions of safe visitor access to the front door.


Dogs are not allowed to remain unsupervised in unfenced front yards.


Hefty fines can be enforced if owners do not obey laws.


Fines of up to $1611.90 apply if your dog is inadequately confined with poor fencing or open gates.


If a dog rushes at, or chases someone without biting them, the owner can be fined $644.76 and the dog can be declared a menacing dog, meaning you have to muzzle it and leash it.


“If your dog attacks someone causing injury you can be fined $6447.60 plus damages, or up to $19,342.80 or six months imprisonment if your dog was declared dangerous prior to the attack.


“If, after investigation of any incident, there is a case to answer, council’s Community Laws Officers are obliged to institute legal process against the offending dog owner.


Anyone who has experienced or witnessed a dog rush or dog attack should let council know.


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